Teachers' beliefs about the implementation of communicative language teaching at primary school level in Zimbabwe

Mildred Shingirirai Nyamayedenga, Lizette de Jager

Abstract


Communicative language teaching (CLT) is considered as a teaching approach that assists learners to achieve communicative competence. However, it seems as though a major gap exists regarding how teachers’ beliefs affect the implementation of CLT in primary school. In the study reported on here, we examined how primary school teachers’ beliefs affect the way in which CLT is implemented in Zimbabwe using a case study of five purposively selected teachers. The analysis aimed to explore what the teachers believed about CLT and how their beliefs were reflected in their classroom practices. The study adopted an inductive thematic analysis that permitted an understanding of how teacher beliefs affected classroom practice through teacher–learner and learner–learner interactions. Data from classroom observations, interviews, documents and field notes were analysed to reveal the phenomenon under study. A major finding of this study reveals that teachers hold beliefs that are not in support of the use of CLT. These beliefs are pedagogical and methodological, and both influence the way in which CLT is implemented. Teachers had their own ideas about CLT and the activities that should be used when implementing it. The teachers’ beliefs were established through observing how teachers implemented CLT and through the knowledge that they had about the approach. In view of the foregoing major finding, it is recommended that teacher training colleges should not emphasise traditional methods of teaching but rather focus more on CLT as a teaching approach.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5785/36-1-888

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